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GHALIB SITWe are just a little short of 450 posts on the Urduwallahs blog (thanks are definitely in order to all our well-wishers and supporters who have joined us and encouraged us in our exploration of Urdu), hence it took us a bit by surprise when we realized that we hadn’t yet shared one of Urdu’s classic ghazals, by a poet who, to many, is considered the face of the Urdu zabaan (though his work is just scratching the surface of Urdu and his work itself will take years to understand and appreciate). We speak of none other than Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib and of one of his classic ghazals (one of our favorites too!) – Hazaron Khwahishen Aisi..

There have been several translations and interpretations of this ghazal, available on the internet and in several books. Here is an amateurish attempt at another one –

Hazaaron khwahishen aisi ke har khwahish pe dam nikle
Bahut niklay mere armaan, lekin phir bhi kam nikle

A thousand desires (within me), such that each one seems worth dying for
Many desires have been fulfilled, yet I yearn for many more

Nikalna khuld se aadam ka sunte aaye hain lekin
Bahut be-aabru hokar tere kuuche se hum nikle

We have heard of the expulsion of Adam from Paradise many times,
With a lot more humiliation and shame, I left your street

Mohabbat mein nahin hai farq jeenay aur marnay ka
Usi ko dekh kar jeetay hain, jis kaafir pe dam nikle

In love, there is little difference between life and death
You live by looking at the infidel who you are willing to die for

Khuda ke vaaste parda na kaabe se uthaa zaalim
Kaheen aisa na ho yaan bhi wahi kaafir sanam nikle

For the sake of God, please do not take the veil off the Kaaba, O tyrant
It may so happen that I find my unfaithful love there too

Kahaan maikhaane ka darwaaza Ghalib aur kahaan vaaiz
Par itna jaantay hain kal voh jaata thaa ke ham nikle

The entrance to the bar on one hand and the preacher, they are way apart
Yet, I saw him (the preacher) entering the bar as I was leaving

Hazaaron khwahishen aisi ke har khwahish pe dam nikle
Bahut niklay mere armaan, lekin phir bhi kam nikle…

Here is the ghazal beautifully brought to life by the late Jagjit Singh for the TV serial Mirza Ghalib where Naseeruddin Shah portrayed the poet to perfection: